Support Myth: “I Didn’t Want To Make It Worse, So I Said Nothing”

Death is not an easy topic to talk about. It can be especially difficult to try to figure out the ‘right thing’ to say to someone who is grieving and often times we find ourselves freezing up when we’re in that situation.

The death of a newborn, a death due to miscarriage or a stillbirth can leave people especially frozen when trying to offer support or comfort to a friend. The same can be said for friends who exhibits sign of complicated grief after a loss, post traumatic stress or major depression, there is no ‘how-to’ on what to say and we can become overly concerned with saying the ‘wrong’ thing or making a person feel worse — which is the last thing a friend wants to accidently do.

It’s a widespread feeling. It’s a normal feeling. It’s a reaction many share they’ve had or were having during the time of their friend’s stress, grief or pain. The problem is — that thinking is what hurts the most.

Not saying anything hurts just as bad — if not more — than saying the ‘wrong‘ thing if someone is reaching out to you in their grief and pain.

Ignoring their child and their trauma can make it feel like you don’t care enough, don’t remember, don’t think it’s worth anything to acknowledge. The same can also be said for the trigger days — the due date, the anniversary, the many looming dates on the calendar.

If you want to say something, but are afraid of bringing it up and making them more sad, I can assure you that you won’t make someone more sad. They will already be feeling the day — it will already be on their mind. It helps to know someone else is thinking of us and our child enough to let us know you are thinking of us.

It really is as simple as four easy words. When in doubt, you can say them and your friend/family member will feel acknowledged, you will avoid saying anything you’re worried about being bad and it will help more than you may realize:

“I am so sorry”

About the author: Devan McGuinness

is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief , which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss.

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  • Perfectly put. Thank you for this. I wish I had the guts to post this to my Facebook page but very few people knew we were pregnant to begin with this and, well, I’m just having a hard time with being “out there” with our recent loss.

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  • What a great post — I just found your site after posting on a really similar topic, and now I am kicking myself that we did not even address the issue of people not saying anything at all. This is a really incredible site you have on such an underserved topic. I will definitely be linking you on our resource page, which we are getting put together right now. Thanks!

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